There’s a lot of epic anime out there. There’s anime that will have you bawling your eyes out or have your heart banging in your chest. But sometimes you just want to watch something sweet and happy that makes you feel good. For that purpose, I have whipped up this list of feel-good fantasy anime to bring a person up when they’re feeling down. These anime have a cheerful atmosphere and despite having fantasy elements, can be a pretty relaxing watch. So let’s buckle up and look through it!
Flying Witch (2016)
Flying Witch is a short slice-of-life anime about a witch-in-training. A young witch named Makoto and her black cat moves in with her relatives and they’re introduced to all the weirdness that comes with her profession. It’s a really chill watch, just showing the main character navigate the day-to-day difficulties of being a witch. All of the characters are very relaxed and sweet, so there’s little drama. But the show keeps itself entertaining by introducing a lot of fun and funny new events and elements. The show contains mandrakes, ghosts, dog-people and, of course, all kinds of magic.
The anime is around 12 episodes long and can be seen on Crunchyroll.
Natsume's Book of Friends (2008)
Natsume’s Book of Friends (also known as Natsume Yujin-cho) is first and foremost an anime about healing. It follows a young man named Takashi Natsume, who can see spirits. He inherited a “Book of Friends” from his grandmother, which contains the contracts of many spirits she has enslaved. Rather than continue this cruel practice, Natsume chooses to work to free these spirits from their contracts and befriend them instead. Natsume is also accompanied by a spirit shaped like a cat, who he nicknames “Nyanko-sensei”.
The anime goes into the tragic pasts of the spirits Natsume meets, but there’s always a message of hope and recovery at the end. Natsume has a pretty rough past himself, so he comes to understand the spirits he meets and they heal together in a heartwarming fashion. Even what appear to be nothing but evil spirits are shown to have good in them. This is an anime about finding the goodness of the world in unexpected places and an anime about understanding and empathy. As such, while it does cover some sad stuff, it’s ultimately a feel-good anime that might have you crying happy tears. And if you’re interested in Japanese mythology, you’ll find lots of cool stuff in this anime as well.
Natsume has 5 seasons out so far. Each season is 13 episodes long and the fifth season is currently airing. You can find it on Crunchyroll.
Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)
Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the sweetest magical girl animes you’ll find out there. The anime follows a ten-year-old girl with latent magical abilities named Sakura. She is tasked with collecting all the Clow Cards that have been unleashed in her city. These cards each contain a magical creature created by the magician Clow Reed that needs to be sealed again lest it cause trouble.
On her adventures Sakura is companied a boisterous and tiny winged lion-critter named Kero, the guardian of the cards who fell asleep on the job, and her best friend Tomoyo, who enthusiastically and adoringly video-tapes all of Sakura’s exploits. Sakura runs into additional trouble when she is confronted by a boy her age named Xiao Lang Li, a descendent of Clow Reed’s who declares himself her rival in capturing the Clow Cards.
CCS is one of the most optimistic anime out there. The characters are so supportive of each other- even those who start out a little hard to deal with go through well-done and positive growth and development. There’s tons of cute friendship, adorable slow-burn romance and it’s truly an uplifting watch full of magical shenanigans.
CCS is 70 episodes long and also has two movies. It’s available on Crunchyroll.
Squid Girl (2010)
Squid Girl is a comedy series about a young girl who lives underwater and has squid tentacles for hair. One day, she decided to invade the surface world and take revenge on humans for their pollution of the ocean. Instead, she ends up working as a waitress to pay off the damage she did to a beachside restaurant. Hijinks ensue.
With a tooth-achingly cute and totally hapless protagonist, Squid Girl is an amusing show bursting with visual gags. It’s done in the style of a sketch-comedy, with each episode containing three short skits. It’s a simple story, but it’s an entertaining one.
Squid Girl is an anime with two seasons of 12 episodes each. You can find it on Crunchyroll.
My Ordinary Life (2011)
Nichijou, also known as My Ordinary Life, is a comedy with many bizarre fantasy elements. It focuses on a huge cast of characters, though the main focus is a group of girls: the energetic, not-to-bright Yuko, the pig-tailed and yaoi manga-obsessed Mio, the deadpan Mai and an android the three eventually befriend named Nano. Nano was created by an eight-year-old girl prodigy simply referred to as “The Professor” and she cares for her like a younger sister. Nano is embarrassed about being a robot and tries to hide it from those around her. She longs to be “normal”.
Nichijou is absurdist comedy at its finest with some of the best wacky visuals and creative animation out there. Characters react to situations like getting bitten by a dog by letting out laser blasts that tear through the atmosphere, situations like trying to retrieve your gay porn before anyone discovers are presented in as over-the-top epic action sequences and at one point a girl watches in fascination as her principal wrestles a deer. And that’s just scratching the surface. You’ll be going “wtf” one moment and laughing your butt off the next. In the midst of all the weirdness, there are occasionally moments of poignancy, like Nano’s struggles to be normal and the comfort she receives from her friends for it.
Nichijou is a 26-episode anime.
Amagi Brilliant Park (2014)
Amagi Brilliant Park is an anime that focuses on a boy who is roped into being the manager of an amusement park staged by refugees from a magical land. The park is in serious trouble and needs to attract 250,000 visitors in three months or it will be closed forever. It’s up to our main characters to pull together and save it.
This anime is bursting with comedy and teamwork and people coming together is a huge theme in it. Characters learn how to get along and help each other, even as they screw up in a hilarious fashion. Also, there are important characters named after Kanye West, 50 Cent and Queen Latifah, which is amazing.
Amagi Brilliant Park is a 13 episode anime and is available on Crunchyroll.
Aria the Animation (2005)
Aria is an anime set in 2301 AD. It takes place on the planet Aqua, which is a terraformed planet Mars that is now covered in oceans. There’s a city called Neo-Venezia full of canals and gondolas guided by professionals. The main character, Akari, has a dream of becoming a top-notch tour guide and the anime focuses on her working as a gondolier and pursuing that dream.
Aria is an anime with a beautiful and lush setting. Gorgeously rendered and relaxing, it’s a slice-of-life narrative that doesn’t have a very linear narrative, but if you simply want to explore a lovely world that is a mix of fantasy and sci-fi full of likeable characters, this show is for you.
Aria is 3 seasons. The first and third seasons are 13 episodes each and the second season is 26 episodes.
Tamako Market (2013)
Tamako Market follows a young girl, the titular Tamako, who works at her family’s mochi shop in the vibrant market district of her town. She meets a strange sentient, talking bird one day, who is searching for a suitable bride for the prince of the country he hails from. The bird ends up freeloading at Tamako’s place and lots of funny adventures ensue.
Tamako Market mostly gets by on its cute and cozy atmosphere. The entire market distract is a warm, welcoming family you’ll find yourself wanting to be part of. The show is like the mochi it focuses on- a tasty snack that doesn’t do much for your diet, but is fun to eat if you just want to lay back and take a break.
Tamako Market is a 12-episode anime.
Polar Bear Cafe (2012)
This anime is about a café run by, well…a polar bear. The customers at the café are a strange mix between humans and animals. It’s a slice-of-lice comedy with a lot of emphasis on wordplay and slapstick. It’s fun to watch, even without much of a plot.
The anime is 50 episodes long and available on Crunchyroll.
Mouretsu Pirates (2012)
Mouretsu Pirates (also known as Bodacious Space Pirates- it's less, uh, risque than the name sounds) is an anime about pirates….in space! Marika Kato lives in a future where space travel is ubiquitous. One day she discovers she has inherited the captaincy of a spaceship from her father and must decide if she wants to follow in his footsteps and become a space pirate.
Despite having a title that seems to indicate lots of action, Mouretsu Pirates focuses mostly on the characters interacting with each other, exploring space and navigating tricky situations. The protagonist is a straightforward, cheerful and confident girl who brings a confident attitude to everything she does and the anime mainly focuses on how FUN it is to romp through space in a pirate costume.
Though the pacing is sometimes iffy, Mouretsu Pirates shines simply for presenting a sci-fi world that would actually be fun to inhabit. It also gets a thumbs-up for resisting pandering with strong, well-developed characters.
The anime is 26 episodes.
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